Tunnel of Fudge, 1966

June 20, 2016
14 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Cook time 3 hours
  • Makes one 10-inch Bundt cake
Author Notes

Recipe adapted from the original at and Ruth at

This is the story of a cake and the story of the Bundt pan, which was invented in 1950 by H. David Dalquist (co-owner of the fledgling Nordic Ware company in Minneapolis, Minnesota) at the request of two local women looking for a lightweight alternative to the cast-iron Bundkuchen (a German word that means cake for a gathering of people). Dalquist called it the Bundt pan after its inspiration and put a few out on the market.

Sales were modest at best until Ella Helfrich took second place in the 1966 Pillsbury Bake Off with her cake recipe, Tunnel of Fudge. The recipe was such a smash hit that demand for the pan kept employees working around the clock to keep up. There are now an estimated 60 million Bundt pans in kitchens (and attics and basements) throughout the United States.

The cake itself proved just as popular until Pillsbury discontinued the crucial ingredient to the cake’s success, Double Dutch Frosting Mix, sometime in the 70s or 80s. Angry fans of the cake deluged the company with complaints, prompting Pillsbury to adapt the recipe, replacing the frosting mix with cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar.

I have made that recipe, and it is quite good, but when I came across blogger Ruth Clark’s adaptation at using a different frosting mix, I knew I had to try it. If you can get your hands on boxes of Jiffy Chocolate Fudge Frosting Mix (I had to order it online, as it’s not available anywhere in NYC), it’s worth it; if not, check out the mix-less recipe on the Pillsbury website.

Note: Don’t skimp on the nuts and be careful not to over-bake. If you want the cake to come out perfectly, make sure that your oven is running at the correct temperature with an oven thermometer check and leave it in no more than 60 minutes!
Jessica Reed

What You'll Need
  • For the cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 boxes Jiffy Chocolate Fudge Frosting Mix
  • 2 cups chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • For the glaze:
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 to 6 teaspoons milk
  1. For the cake:
  2. Preheat oven to 350° F. Generously butter a 12-cup Bundt pan
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour and frosting mix. Stir in the walnuts. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium speed until fluffy and lighter in color, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each. Stop often to scrape the sides of the bowl. With the mixer running at medium speed, slowly stream in the sugar. Once it is all in, continue to beat at medium speed for an additional 3 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer and using a Silicone spatula, fold in the flour-frosting-nut mix until no streaks of flour are present. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
  5. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until the top is just set. It’s very important to not over-bake this cake and you’ll lose the fudgy filling.
  6. Let the cake cool in pan set on a rack for 2 hours, then remove the cake from the pan to cool completely.
  1. For the glaze:
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, and milk. Start with the smaller amount of milk; add more if needed to reach desired consistency.
  3. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake. Let sit 20 minutes to allow the glaze to harden before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • drbabs
  • Jessica Reed
    Jessica Reed
  • Amy E
    Amy E
  • Mdinnj
A baker, artist, writer, historian, and unabashed bibliophile, I live in Brooklyn with my husband and our daughter and blog at Creator of THE BAKER'S APPENDIX, available here at Food52!

13 Reviews

Amy E. May 21, 2023
King Arthur Company has 17 ounce box of chocolate butter cream frosting mix which can be ordered through their catalog by phone, mail, and online. This is just a couple of ounces more than the two boxes of Jiffy frosting mix. I am definitely going to give this cake a try as I have not had it since I was a child.
Mdinnj January 11, 2021
I saw the comment about the Jiffy Frosting Mux being discontinued but I did not see what to do in its place. Any advice?
Vickie July 15, 2022
After everything else was discontinued I searched and searched for something with the same ingredients. Krusteaz chocolate frosting mix does the trick. I have not found it in stores but Amazon has it in 5 lb boxes
LinneaJC March 29, 2018
The frosting mix has been discontinued. Bummed as I was really hoping to make this.
Misfitwife March 7, 2018
I have someone with a nut allergy. Could you substitute with something like chocolate chips? Any other ideas?
Mirella October 11, 2020
For the same reason, I am going to try it with sunflower seeds instead!
Lisa S. September 13, 2017
Can pecans be substituted for walnuts? Not a big walnut fan! Thanks!
drbabs February 19, 2017
Jessica, should the recipe for the glaze be 4-6 tablespoons? I used the glaze recipe for another cake and at 6 teaspoons, it seized up into a ball; it took about two tablespoons more of milk and some heavy whisking to get it into a glaze.
Jessica R. February 20, 2017
Hello! So after reading your comment, I tried it out again. Definitely not 4-6 T as that would make the glaze far too runny, but I too had some issues with the 4-6 t. With slow adding of liquids and steady whisking, I got a good glaze with 8 t of milk, which is 2 T and 2 t. It worked for me before with the smaller measurements, but I think now that perhaps 6-8 t is a better recommendation. Thanks for trying it out and for the comment!
drbabs February 20, 2017
I'll try that next time. Mine was definitely too runny. Thanks!
Hippolyta July 30, 2016
This cake looks great but I wonder if I could serve it by name at a dinner party with a straight face...
Jessica R. February 20, 2017
VERY late response, but I can never, ever say the name of this cake out loud without blushing and laughing!.
jcasare April 22, 2019